ASTON VILLA'S second-half performance in defeat to Newcastle has given manager Paul Lambert hope that his team can fight their way out of relegation trouble.

The former Celtic midfielder's team slumped to yet another damaging defeat. They have taken just two points from their last seven games in addition to their double cup setback against lower league Bradford and Millwall.

First-half strikes from the Magpies' Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye put their fellow strugglers in control at Villa Park.

Villa improved after half-time and replied through a Christian Benteke penalty.

However, they failed to avoid a 2-1 defeat and Newcastle ended a sequence of 17 games without a victory away from St James' Park in all competitions this season.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "I've never seen a standing ovation after getting beaten before but that shows the effort we put in in the second half.

"We never played well in the first half at all, but I couldn't fault them after the break. Sometimes it is easy to play at 2-0 down because no-one expects anything.

"There will be a few teams down there and we will have to fight our way out of it. Money dictates everything and the situation hasn't changed.

"I don't know if we will be able to bring anyone in, let's see what the next two days brings. You have to survive in the league and sometimes you need a bit of help."

Cisse broke the deadlock for Newcastle after 19 minutes when he collected new signing Moussa Sissoko's pass to drill a low shot into the corner of the net.

The Magpies doubled their lead after 31 minutes with a stunning strike from Cabaye whose volley from just outside past the box flew past the despairing dive of Brad Guzan.

The home side were given a lifeline after 48 minutes when Mathieu Debuchy conceded a penalty after a challenge on Gabby Agbonlahor.

Up stepped Benteke to send Tim Krul the wrong way from the spot, however Villa could not find a winner.